Sports Fishing Tournament Preview: June to December

Action at the St. Martin Billfish Tournament. Photo courtesy of Stephan Petit/St. Martin Billfish Tournament
Sports Fishing Tournament Preview: Action at the St. Martin Billfish Tournament. Photo courtesy of Stephan Petit/St. Martin Billfish Tournament
Action at the St. Martin Billfish Tournament. Photo courtesy of Stephan Petit/St. Martin Billfish Tournament

The sports fishing tournament year in the Caribbean kicks-off with the Budget Marine Spice Island Billfish Tournament in Grenada in January. After that, there’s a host of other events the first half of the year such as the Barbados International Fishing Tournament, Casa de Campo Blue Marlin Classic, the Trinidad & Tobago Game Fishing Association (TTGFA) Marlin Madness Tournament and more. However, the second half of the year is even busier with billfish and gamefish tournaments. Here is a sampling:

 

JUNE

June 13th – 18th: 66th Ernest Hemingway International Billfish Tournament
Medals, trophies and bragging rights are top prizes at this popular event fished out of Marina Hemingway in Havana, Cuba. Bring your own boat (registration fee includes a mooring) or charter. Festivities include a welcome cocktail party and awards dinner. For information: [email protected]

June 15th – 18th: Saint Martin Billfish Tournament
Break the tournament record of an 809lb blue marlin and cruise home in a 2016 25ft Contender Bay Boat valued at US $75,000.00! That’s not all. “Last year we introduced the White Marlin Challenge, which is a separate ‘winner-take-all’ category, and we will bring it back again this year,” says director, Stephan Petit. On shore, there’s live music and the Caribbean Flavors seafood festival. billfish-tournament.com 

June 21st – 26th: Cap Cana Shootout
Anywhere from US $125,000 to $150,000 is up for grabs in this billfish-only tournament in the form of trophies, luxury prizes and cash prizes. “White marlin with blue marlin make up 20 percent of the releases on average,” says director, Rick Alvarez. “There are also sailfish and spearfish releases so the potential for Grand Slams or a Super Slam exists.” Parties ashore nightly and an elegant prize-giving add to the fun.” www.intlbillfishtourns.com 

Sports Fishing Tournament Preview: Turks & Caicos 2015 - Thirteen-year-old Rory Osborne (far right), recipient of the Junior Angler award aboard Vision and Balance. Photo: Chris Osborne
Turks & Caicos 2015 – Thirteen-year-old Rory Osborne (far right), recipient of the Junior Angler award aboard Vision and Balance. Photo: Chris Osborne

JULY

July 4th: World Cup Blue Marlin Championship
Catch the largest blue marlin in the world on this day and win a cash prize that last year paid out $656,000. Capt. Gerard ‘Frothy’ de Silva, from Trinidad & Tobago, was at the helm when angler Anthony Johnson from Davie, Florida, achieved this feat when angling out of Madeira, Portugal. “This year, De Silva is expected to try his World Cup luck in the Southern Caribbean,” says organizer Robert ‘Fly’ Navarro. www.bluemarlinworldcup.com

Sports Fishing Tournament Preview: July Open Billfish Tournament in St. Thomas – Past winners Wave Paver. Photo: Dean Barnes
July Open Billfish Tournament in St. Thomas – Past winners Wave Paver. Photo: Dean Barnes

July 7th – 11th: Caicos Classic IGFA Billfish Release Tournament
“The top overall prize is an invitation to the Offshore World Championships in Costa Rica, where the best of the best are invited from all over the globe,” says committee member Belinda Martin. This fun marlin tournament is fished out of IGY’s Blue Haven Marina in Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Islands. caicosclassic.tc

July 17th: Bastille Day Kingfish Tournament
“Catch the largest kingfish and win $2000 cash,” says committee member Catherine Bryan. Over $13,000 in prizes awarded. Live music and weigh-in party at Hull Bay Hideaway, St. Thomas, USVI. www.facebook.com/Northside-Sportfishing-Club

July 17th – 19th: 53rd July Open Marlin Tournament
“This is an event that includes tourists and locals, who are some of the best anglers in the world,” says Lori Bailey, manager of Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club (VIGFC), in St. Thomas, USVI. New this year is video to confirm catch-and-releases instead of observers. Prizes include trophies and cash. www.vigfc.com

 

AUGUST

August 12th – 14th: Tarpon Thunder Tournament
“Trinidad is considered the best place for tarpon fishing,” says Monique Sheppard, TTGFA administrator. “Last year, 284 tarpon were released unharmed.” Weekend Warriors have the option of fishing three sessions if they can’t fish the entire tournament. ttgfa.com

August 15th19th: 44th USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament
“New is the addition of a ‘Team Division’ that allows anglers to fish by IGFA rules only,” says director Jimmy Loveland. There’s also an ‘Angler Division’. Both divisions will fish for blue marlin on 50lb (test) IGFA rated line with qualified observers on board each vessel. The 2nd ‘Wet N’ Wild’ center console tournament takes place at the same time August 17th-18th. Lots of prizes for all. www.abmt.vi

Sports Fishing Tournament Preview: Peje, winner of the 62nd edition of the San Juan International Billfish Tournament. Photo: Mark Smestad
Peje, winner of the 62nd edition of the San Juan International Billfish Tournament. Photo: Mark Smestad

 

SEPTEMBER

September 12th18th: International Billfish Tournament
Puerto Rico’s Club Nautico de San Juan hosts this prestigious tournament. “New is a FADS system that is on fire, with vessels having multiple strikes in a day on blue marlin, white marlin and sailfish,” says chairman Salvador Egea. New too is a tropical nighttime beach party. A Mobile App provides quick information on releases, top boats, top anglers, and teams.

sanjuaninternational.com

 

OCTOBER

Sports Fishing Tournament Preview: Dominican Republic – The fight begins. Photo: Richard Gibson
Dominican Republic – The fight begins. Photo: Richard Gibson

October 1st8th: 53rd Port Antonio International Marlin Tournament
A week of great billfishing, plus nightly and lay-day parties makes this an event not to miss. “The Montego Bay International Marlin Tournament now scheduled for September 20th-24th, a week before our event, makes the 2016 Jamaican Tournament Circuit more compact and attractive for visiting boats,” says PAIMT organizer Ron DuQuesnay. jamaicasportsfishing.com

Sports Fishing Tournament Preview: Varadero Aruba Caribbean Cup. Photo: Richard Gibson
Varadero Aruba Caribbean Cup. Photo: Richard Gibson

October 20th – 23rd: Varadero Aruba Caribbean Cup
Cash awards, trophies and prizes, plus great parties are a big draw. “The fishing is usually very good,” says organizer Sam White. “Every year there seems to be a Grand Slam or two caught and the level of competition is among the best in the Caribbean.” Charter boats available. www.preschallenge.com

October 25th29th. St. Lucia International Billfish Tournament
New placement of FADs should generate great fish catching conditions at this tournament hosted out of IGY’s Rodney Bay Marina. “A brand new car will be awarded to the team that catches a blue marlin over 707lb, the island record,” says organizer Sean Devaux. Grand prize-giving party aboard the Pearl (pirate ship). www.facebook.com/slugamefishingassociation 

Sports Fishing Tournament Preview: A FAD waiting to be deployed
A FAD waiting to be deployed

 

NOVEMBER

November 5th: Best in the West Fishing Tournament
This action-packed tournament in Antigua focuses on gamefish, with prizes for men, women and junior anglers. For information, email: [email protected]

 

Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian. 

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